|ESE Student Team wins EPA P3 Award|
|June 03, 2005|
Out of a group of 65 teams composed of more than 400 university students and advisors, an ESE student team consisting of Joe Brown (PhD, Sobsey Advisor), Lisa Casanova (MS, Sobsey Advisor), Mark Elliott (PhD, DiGiano Advisor), and Christine Stauber (PhD, Sobsey Advisor)was one of six national winners of the First Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) P3 Awards; Sustainability Designs Will Help People, Prosperity and the Planet.
The competition was judged at an event hosted by EPA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) on Independence Mall in Washington, D.C on May 16, 2005. The award is for up to $75K of funding to continue their research. The 65 competing teams had been working for a year with $10K of EPA seed money on their project. The competition is designed to provide flexibility for creativity, allowing interdisciplinary teams of students to define a scientific or technical challenge to sustainability; relate the challenge to people, prosperity, and the planet; and develop a design approach to address the challenge.
The ESE team's project is on improved household water treatment technologies and a comparison of their effectiveness, cost and sustainability. Details are included below:
Comparative Analysis of Three Sustainable Point of Use Drinking Water Treatment Technologies for Developing Nations
Description: More than 1 billion people in the developing world lack access to safe, reliable sources of drinking water. Unsafe water takes a toll not only on human health but also on individuals' economic productivity. Illness from waterborne disease robs people of time and energy that could be devoted to activities that improve their economic status. The solution to the problem of waterborne gastrointestinal illness is to provide universal access to safe, disease-free, reliable piped water supplies. But the costs of providing the necessary infrastructure are often prohibitive for communities in less developed nations. The goal of point of use (POU) technology is to allow people who only have access to unsafe water sources to improve the quality of their water by treating it in the home. New and improved POU technologies are emerging that hold great promise for households in the developing world. The environmental impact of POU manufacture and use is minimal, but the benefits from reducing dissemination of waterborne disease among people and their spread through the environment are substantial. There is a critical need to determine the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of these emerging POU technologies. The purpose of this research project is to determine and compare the costs, health and economic benefits, and performance effectiveness in improving water quality of three point of use drinking water treatment technologies intended for the developing world. The concept and validation of POU household drinking water treatment as appropriate, effective, affordable and sustainable technology for the developing world is relatively new, and attempts to promote and distribute these technologies on a large scale have just begun. A comparative cost-effectiveness analysis of the emerging POU technologies that we are proposing has not been done. The first goal of the initial stage of this project is to measure the effectiveness of these three POU technologies for improving water quality. The second goal of the initial stage is to conduct comparative cost-effectiveness analysis of the three systems. The project will also be integrated into the university curriculum through classes and laboratory training programs. Student understanding of the role of sustainable POU technology will be enhanced when they use the data from this project to provide critical information to aid and development organizations and communities to help them decide which POU technologies can best meet their needs. This research fills an important gap in current knowledge of POU drinking water technologies.For further information please contact Rebecca Riggsbee Lloyd by email at Rebecca_Lloyd@unc.edu